Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | April 23, 2015

April 23, 2015 “Either Or”

“No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.” (Ezra 3: 13)

Good Morning Dear Friends!

In just a few hours, my bride and I will be boarding a plane for Indiana, where for the next few days we’ll be visiting our daughter and son-in-law, and our youngest grandson, Jack. We haven’t had the extreme delight of actually meeting baby Jack yet, so this will be one of those occasions when all sorts of emotions will bubble up.

“I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry!” Have you ever felt or said anything like that?  There are particular occasions that would elicit such an expression of mixed emotions. It might be seeing your grandchild for the first time, as we’ll be doing later today, or it might be at a wedding or perhaps a graduation. It could be upon a time of retirement or a significant birthday. The occasion cited here in Ezra was at the laying of the foundation of the temple of the Lord. For many years, the temple was in ruins…ransacked and desecrated by conquering nations and wicked kings.  Now, with the permission and support of Persian King Cyrus, a new temple was being built. The new temple was being built on the foundation of the original, resplendent temple erected at the time of Solomon, so they were not too different in size. But the original temple was far more elaborate than the new one, surrounded by many buildings and a vast courtyard. Solomon, as you recall, was most likely the wealthiest king…perhaps even the wealthiest person, who ever lived, and the temple he erected was decorated with vast amounts of gold and precious stones. The new temple could not match the splendor of the former temple, and some of the older priests, though pleased that a new temple was being built, nevertheless wept that it was not as grand as the former temple. The celebration of the laying of the foundation was marked by contrasting emotion-shouts of joy and sounds of weeping. In fact, both were appropriate. The Holy Spirit can stimulate us to rejoice over the goodness of His grace as well as to grieve over the sins that require His discipline of us. When we enter into the presence of Almighty God in prayer, we may feel full of joy and thanksgiving, yet at the same time feel humbled by our shortcomings. Both are appropriate. Both are accepted. When you don’t know whether to “laugh or cry”…remember that it’s not an “either-or” response that God accepts. It’s a “both-and”.  Let’s pray!

Holy Lord;  In Your magnificent presence, we are both humbled and elated. We are filled with joy as well as humbled in the light of your Holiness. We come with shouts of joy and tears of repentance. Thank you that in your amazing grace, we are accepted just as we come to you. hear the prayers of our hearts as we pour them out to you this day, in Jesus’ mighty Name. Amen

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